Turkish football legend ‘Sinyor’ Can Bartu dies at 83
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Can Bartu played for Italian football teams Fiorentina, Venezia and Lazio in 1960s.
“We are experiencing the deep pain and sorrow of this great loss,” the club said in a statement.
The club also extended condolences to his family, fans and the entire sports community.
Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu expressed his sadness on Twitter over the death of a “legendary figure of Turkish sports and Fenerbahçe.”
“We will never forget you, Sinyor,” he said, referring to Bartu’s nickname “signor.”
Fans of Istanbul football giants Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş also shared messages of condolences on social media, with archrivals putting the news on the front pages of their official websites.
Bartu, born on Jan. 31, 1936 in Istanbul, played both basketball and football for Fenerbahçe, where he appeared six times with the national basketball team.
In 1955, he was invited by coach Fikret Arıcan to play football, without quitting his career in basketball, only to replace a missing player in an away game against Edirnespor. Bartu scored the sole goal in the game and impressed all fans.
He made it to the headlines when he played football for his club against Beyoğluspor, scoring two goals and assisted two more on Jan. 25, 1957, before playing basketball for Fenerbahçe, scoring 10 points on the very same evening.
He also replaced Turkey’s injured goalkeeper Turgay Şeren against Romania on Nov. 2, 1958 in Bucharest during a European Cup game.
He eventually totally switched to football, being a member of the Turkish national team for 28 times.
In 1961, he flew to Italy’s Fiorentina and also played for Venezia and Lazio.
He holds the honor to be the first Turkish footballer ever who played a final game in European competitions for his appearance at the Fiorentina vs Atlético Madrid game in the European Cup Winners on May 10, 1962, which ended with a 1-1 draw. He did not appear in the replay in September.
Bartu returned to Turkey in 1967 to play in his former club Fenerbahçe, and played for another three years as an athlete with 162 goals for the Istanbul giant in 326 games. With him on board, Fenerbahçe clinched the league titles in 1959, 1961, 1968 and 1970, when he retired.
A former columnist who also wrote for Hürriyet, Bartu stole the hearts of fans of other clubs as a pundit for long years with his sarcastic, but on-point comments.
Fenerbahçe’s training facility in Istanbul is named after him.
He was the UEFA Cup ambassador of Turkey in the 2008-2009 season, when Fenerbahçe’s Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium on the Asian side of Istanbul hosted the final.
Bartu was laid to rest on April 13 following a ceremony at the same place.